USA – During Amgen’s recent fourth-quarter earnings call conference on Tuesday, February 6, Wall Street analysts were enthusiastic about the prospects of AMG 133, an experimental GLP-1 drug intended for the treatment of obesity. 

 Despite Amgen’s status as a global pharmaceutical powerhouse, with nine blockbuster medicines under its belt and a net worth exceeding US$160 billion, the focus of the discussion shifted sharply towards the promising weight loss treatment. 

AMG 133, which has recently cleared its first stage of human testing, garnered considerable attention from Wall Street analysts, with more than half of the questions directed towards its prospects. 

 The drug, touted as a potential rival to Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly’s sought-after weight loss medications, has stirred significant interest among investors, despite its market debut still being years away. 

The heightened scrutiny surrounding AMG 133 stems from the soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs like Novo’s Wegovy and Lilly’s Zepbound, which have demonstrated remarkable efficacy in reducing body weight by 15% to 20% in clinical trials. 

With estimates projecting total GLP-1 sales to potentially reach $100 billion, the allure of the obesity drug market has attracted several pharmaceutical giants, including Pfizer, Roche, AstraZeneca, and Boehringer Ingelheim. 

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Amgen’s foray into obesity drug research with AMG 133 has contributed to a surge in investor optimism, reflected in the company’s rising stock value.  

The recent publication of Phase 1 trial results in Nature Metabolism further fueled excitement, revealing promising weight loss outcomes of up to 15% with sustained effects over several months. 

Analysts decry AMG 133’s side effects 

However, analysts raised concerns regarding AMG 133’s side effects and its efficacy compared to existing treatments like Wegovy and Zepbound. 

 Despite these queries, Amgen executives defended the drug’s design, emphasizing its unique mechanism of action, which includes blocking another hormone receptor called GIP. 

Amgen said it was however anticipating disclosing results from a Phase 2 study of AMG 133 later this year, providing further insights into its potential as a weight loss therapy. 

 Additionally, the company is set to report early trial data on another obesity drug, AMG 786, which operates differently from AMG 133. 

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